If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know feed time with Hamish is my favourite time of day. It’s quiet and peaceful and I simply love the sound of him munching away, but there’s a lot of importance in what he’s eating too.
What you feed your horse can make such a difference to both their health and performance – but how often do we really look at what we’re feeding our horses and check if its best suited to them?
I know a lot of leisure riders, me alike, are often bombarded with different options for horse feed and with so much on the market its easy to get sucked into something that may be great for some horses but not necessarily right for yours.
It’s so easy to overlook feed as a cause for potential issues with weight, energy, condition and behaviour.
Coming out of winter and going into spring, it seemed the perfect opportunity to get Spillers out to do a weigh bridge clinic at our yard.
As always, Spillers were wonderful from start to finish and were able to fit us in for an evening clinic within a few weeks of contacting them. They come out free of charge for a weekday evening visit, for 10 or more horses or they’ll do a weekend visit at a yard of 30/40 horses or more.
It’s a great time of year to get an accurate weight for your horses as they come out of winter, to ensure you can manage them correctly going into spring. Not only did I get a weight for Hamish but they also gave each horse a body condition score.
The body condition score looks at the horse in three sections; the neck, the belly and hind end. Each section gets a score from 1-9 (one being very poor and 9 being very over weight) and then the horses is given a final score based on the average of the three. With 5 being the ideal condition, Hamish came out of winter as a 4.5.
I’m so pleased Hamish wintered so well at the age of 24 and it’s nice that he’s going into spring with a little bit of room for the luscious spring grass thats about to appear. I do have to be careful with Hamish’s sugar intake, with his Cushings, but knowing he’s a good weight certainly helps to put my mind at rest.
Once I knew Ham’s body condition score, he wondered onto the weigh bridge (like a dream may I add, no hesitation, although at his age he’s pretty blasé about most things). He came in at 538kg, which is about right for his breed and height.
Now onto the fun bit, feed. Hamish is fed on a high fibre, low starch and sugar diet to help give him the energy he needs for his ridden work and to keep his condition without over doing the sugar, in caution of his Cushings.
Hamish has been fed on the Spillers Conditioning Fibre Chaff and the Spillers Slow Release Energy Cubes for the best part of a year now and I can safely says it’s the best combination for him. It gives him everything he needs and his winter feed gives him all of the vitamins and minerals he needs too.
In summer, especially when they are on 24/7 turnout Hamish does get a reduced feed and over those months it’s recommended to feed him a balancer to ensure he’s are getting all of the vits and mins he needs.
Spillers have a range of balancers and it’s always best to speak with them to see what they advise for your horse based on their current feed, health and forage is like etc.
I would highly recommend Spillers to anyone. They offer tailored feeding advise for your horse via email or phone where you can discuss your horse’s requirements and ensure they have everything they need feed wise and they also provide you with a recommendation on their forage intake a day too, so you know how much hay they should be having.
I also love their feeds – they are quality, contain good ingredients, including vitamins and minerals and their chaff is short & soft which is absolutely perfect for H.
All of the ladies on the yard gave such wonderful feedback and we’ll undoubtedly have them out again at the end of summer, going into winter, to help make a plan for the colder months to keep them tip top condition.
With no obligation to feed Spillers feed or move onto Spillers, it really is worth getting them out. Their advice is second to none and Gina was so informative and spent time with each person to answer any questions and discuss current feeding habits and help to advise on how to get the weight off or keep it on.
Each horse is looked at as an individual, with their breed and age taken into account too. It really is a very comprehensive visit and they’re lovely too – you really have nothing to loose.
Do you have a regular weigh bridge for your horses as a chance to check their weight and condition? What are you thoughts on feeding, do you have a feed you swear by for your horse?